Comprehension is defined as the ability to understand something. An unseen paragraph is given with 5 to 8 questions to judge the ability of understanding of students or candidates. Theme of Paragraphs are based on the topics of everyday science, current issues, history, humanity, literature etc.

Abilities of candidates/Students may be tested by the test-makers via comprehension

The test-maker may ask the question about:

  • The main idea of the paragraph to test the ability to find the central thought of the paragraph.
  • to find specific detail to test the ability to understand what the author states explicitly.
  • Drawing the inferences to test the ability to go beyond the author's explicit statement and see what these statements imply.
  • The application to other situation to test the ability to recognise how the author's idea might apply to other situations.
  • The Tone/Attitude to test the ability to sense the emotional state of author.
  • The Technique to test your ability to recognise the method of organisation of paragraph.
  • The meaning of the unfamiliar words to test the ability of understanding the contextual meanings.

Techniques to understand comprehension

Before practicing the comprehension paragraph, we will learn some techniques to better understand the paragraph.


Read questions, and then paragraph.

  • When you will read questions before reading the paragraph, You will find a direction to understand the Paragraph.
  • Keywords in questions will help you to spot where the answer may be found.
  • After reading questions, read the paragraph paitiently, do not force yourself to understand. read the paragraph at least three times.

How to locate Main idea, if asked?

  • To determine the main idea or theme of the paragraph, Read the first/opening sentence and last/summary sentence of the paragraph.
  • A good author express the main idea in first sentence of the paragraph and conclude main theme of paragraph in last sentence.
How to choose a title for paragraph?
  • Find the central theme, and choose the sentences revolving around the theme.
  • The title sholud neither too broad nor too narrow.
  • The title should be specific but comprehensive enough to cover essential ideas.

How to find out specific detail?

  • Spot the keyword in question and scan the paragraph for same keyword or synonyms.
  • After scaning, reread the sentence to make sure that test-maker have not used orignal wording to mislead you.

How to apply ideas from the paragrah to new situation?

  • Put yourself at place of author and ask several questions e.g.
  • What are you arguing for?
  • Given in paragraph, what you want to say next?
  • What might hurt your argument?
  • What might make it stronger?
  • Whom are you trying to convience?